Well then, that was quite the weekend. While the general recipe was equal doses of wind and heat, mixed in with a giant scoop of humanity and a heavy handed dash of boat traffic, there were moments of calm in that holiday storm. I found one such moment on Monday morning- if only for a few minutes before the wind pushed me towards the relief of a sturdy pier. Another moment on Sunday evening- a more enduring moment, though still fleeting- when the waters relaxed and most of the boats returned to their moorings. That was a nice evening on the water. The rest of the weekend? It was indeed a mash up of wind and waves and swimming and boats and people. This onslaught of activity will make quieter Fridays and Mondays spent at the lake so much the better.
What will happen now is simple. The next two weekends at the lake will be owned by those who have the time, but they will not remind anyone of the throng that is Memorial Day weekend in the Midwest. Those who are inconsiderate enough of the summer desires of their friends and family have planned weddings and graduations and birthday parties and the sorts of things that occur during the first two weekends in June. All of these things are annoying. I’d miss my own graduation for an afternoon spent on the water. I didn’t have to miss my own wedding to do the same- I was married on the proper front lawn of a lakefront estate. This is how you effectively plan an event while keeping the lake as the centerpiece. To those able to enjoy the next two weekends at the lake, I assure you they will be nothing like the baptism by fire that many endured over the weekend now past.
But this is just the commentary on the weekend and there is meaningful commentary owed to a sale from Friday. There was a sale at Bay Shore in Williams Bay. I never know whether to write BayShore like that or like this (Bay Shore) or sometimes, if I’m feeling strange, I’ll write it like this (Bayshore). Either way, they’re all right, and they all point to the blue/gray condominiums in Williams Bay nearest Edgewater Park. I used to sell a whole bunch of these units, back when lakefront condominiums traded with ease. That was quite a long while ago.
The most recent sale, one to a buyer whom I was pleased to represent, closed for $330k on Friday. The property was listed for far less, so the sale in the MLS will boggle some of the simpler minds out there. The reality of the purchase was that the buyer had wanted to be in Bay Shore for years, eons perhaps, and this sale be it at $280k, $290k, or the actual sales price of $330k, was where he wanted to see his family play out their weekends. This was a sale driven by motivation, and by the understanding that sometimes to wait on the sidelines for a lifetime is not a prudent move. Scratch that- waiting forever is never, ever a wise move.
So the buyer gathered his motivation and closed for a very reasonable price. The unit is prime, just the second in from the lake, with a pleasantly oversized deck overlooking both the pool and the lake. This is a nice perch to spend those nights that fall between Friday afternoon and Monday morning. The sale, combined with a couple of nice sales in Geneva Towers this year, and a sale that I have pending at Eastbank in Lake Geneva, will breath more life into a lakefront condo market that has been suffocating for at least three full, long, tiring years.
Will these recent sales propel the lakefront condo market back into relevance? Doubtful. The importance of the sales- any and all of them- is that they set benchmarks for value. It’s scary to be the first buyer in several years to buy in any particular complex. This is true both here at the lake and there where you’re at. A sale in a condominium gives comfort to those who follow, and sends a clear signal to the current market that value can be found at the number that just printed. No one wants to be the first guy to pay a price, but plenty of people find comfort in following a pricing pattern that can only start once someone takes that very important first step.
To this buyer, I’m grateful. It’s exciting to see buyers who have wanted something for so terribly long to finally capture what has been eluding them. Weekends spent near the water are the reward, and what a lasting reward that is. Take a deep breath, it’s going to be a long summer.